Russell Wilson has definitely spiced up the Bears’ search for their 2021 starting quarterback. As many know, he included the Chicago Bears in his list of four teams he wants to be traded to. Russell Wilson has been a good soldier for the Seahawks but his patience with their lack of commitment to building a quality offense around him has apparently come to a breaking point.
However, there are two major obstacles keeping him from leaving Seattle. The obvious one is the Seahawks’ reluctance to trade the rare and precious commodity that is a franchise quarterback. The second is the cap hit they would take in order to trade him before the NFL Draft which starts April 29.
The only realistic shot Russell Wilson has of putting the Seahawks behind him in 2021 is for the Seahawks to trade him after June 1st. According to Spotrac, the Seahawks have 11 million in cap space. If Seattle trades Wilson before June 1st, they will eat 39 million in dead cap space and lose 7 million of the 11 million they, currently, have to spend.
However, a post-June 1 trade of Wilson gives Seattle an additional 19 million in cap space, netting them a total of 30 million. The Seahawks would be put into an impossible situation if they traded Wilson pre-June 1 because they have 22 unrestricted free agents to replace this offseason.
Trading Russell Wilson would leave them with only 4 million in cap space. They will very likely cut defensive end, Carlos Dunlap, to add another 14 million to their cap which would bring it up to 19 million with the pre-June 1st trade of Wilson. There are other cuts and restructuring of contracts Seattle can make. However, none of it appears enough to justify the deep hole they would put themselves in to both accommodate Wilson and field a competitive team in 2021.
To summarize if the Seahawks traded Wilson before June 1 and cut Dunlap they would have 19 million in cap space to replace 24 players. This includes nine starters with Wilson and Dunlap in that group. The roster spots that need to be filled include a starting and backup quarterback, a starting running back, two starting cornerbacks and replacing their two best pass rushers.
The only realistic way trading Russell Wilson can happen this year is if Seattle puts together a handshake agreement with another team like the Bears for a post-June 1st trade. This type of trade is, of course, quite problematic but also quite possible. It is less problematic for the Seahawks than the Bears but both teams can make it happen but they need to set things up just right.